Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope this year brings more peacefulness, progress, happiness and good health to us all.
The Marco Chapter of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 95 held their “Change of Watch” ceremony on Saturday, January 5, 2013 at Hideaway Beach. The new Flotilla Commander is Arne Kelsey and the Vice Flotilla Commander is Skip Lee. I was honored to again be invited to view the ceremony and mingle with these distinguished servants to our community’s waterways. Not only do they hold search and rescues, as most would expect, but they monitor the weather, the safety of our waterways, and teach boater safety classes, among other things.
As this New Year begins, so do the outstanding programs at the Marco Historical Museum and the Marco Branch Library. On January 15, the library will present “My Appalachia: Songs & Stories of the Coalfields” with performers Jeni and Billy. You will enjoy original songs, homespun stories, mountain memories, guitar, banjo, mandolin, flatfoot dance and homemade quilts!
Then, on Tuesday, January 29, at 11:00 AM, the library will feature “Presidents and Their First Ladies, Dramatically Speaking: Jerry & Betty Ford. Other programs coming up will include “Frankie Gershwin – We let George Do It,” “Oh! My Aching Back,” “A Musical Journey Through the Ages,” “European Spice Trade and the Discovery of the New World” and so much more. These are only a glimpse of what is awaiting you at your County Library on Marco Island.
The Historical Society will held a presentation on January 8. Hopefully you were able to attend “A Land Remembered, A Florida Legacy Revisited.” On January 19, the museum will present “President’s in Florida” and finally, (just in January, mind you – more to come each month) January 26 is “Pirate’s Day.” And remember – these programs are presented FREE of charge!
You have probably heard by now that our favorite restaurant owner, Mike Ward, of Erin’s Isle, has opened a new Erin’s Isle at the Clubhouse at Hibiscus Golf Course off Rattlesnake Hammock Road, near the U.S. 41 East intersection. Stop by and say hi and congratulations. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to know you care. Mike has been a vital part of our community over many years and seems to always be a part of every Irish celebration on the Island as well.
It was great to see some of you on my first tour of 2013 – the County Jail, on January 10. The next tour is January 24, featuring the Emergency Services Center, and finally the last tour I have planned (so far) is a close-up tour of Treviso Bay. If you haven’t RSVP’d, but would like to be put on the wait-list (there is always someone who becomes ill or has unexpected guests drop by), please e-mail my office: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A project on my wish list, which I will need help with from all the surrounding communities, is a swimming pool at Eagle Lakes Community Park in East Naples, adjacent to Lely Resort. The Marco Island YMCA has been a tremendous help in transporting some of the children in this low-income area to the Y. In fact, some had never been in a pool before! I personally feel it is important to give these children opportunities to fill their time and enjoy wholesome activities with other children, plus learn to swim for water safety. I know it’s a big effort, but just maybe the people of our community will rise up and help these children to have the same benefits as those in River Park, Immokalee and Golden Gate. The Parks & Recreation Department is already moving forward to build a community center through grants that have been obtained, and it should be built by 2014, if all goes well. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a swimming pool to complete this park? Any funding ideas? I’ve approached the Winter Wine Festival people, but they do not fund anything that is or will be government owned.